If you know me, you know I’m a sugar-and-chocolate-holic. I look for any and all opportunities to get my fix. Sometimes, I make decisions based on whether I can fit in getting something sweet.
Now, if you are a “salty” person, just transfer the thinking to that. I find that most people prefer either sugar and salt as their treat. So, maybe you look for opportunities to have something salty–or have trouble stopping once you’ve started.
But whether it’s sugar or salt, wouldn’t it be fabulous to crave the Lord as much as you crave something sweet or salty? To look for any and every opportunity to “taste and see that the Lord is good”? To make decisions based on whether we can fit in tasting the Lord’s goodness?
Are you feeling like you’d love to thirst and hunger after the Lord more? J.I. Packer writes, “Objects are actually desired in virtue of the goodness, real or illusory, which is attributed to them. One who truly appreciates God’s goodness, therefore, cannot but desire him.” (A Quest for Godliness, page 194).
I’ve often tried to analyze why sugar is so attractive, even addicting to me. I definitely perceive it as a “good”–whether “real or illusory.” It’s a curious thing because I’ve gone without sugar at times for up to a year, and I didn’t die! I might have thought I would because it seems so important to me. Although I’m sure there are many reasons sugar is so important to me, it’s more important to meditate on why the Lord is good, and why He’s a desirable source to thirst and hunger after.
I find in Psalm 63:1-8 a wonderful perspective of God’s goodness and why He is worthy to be dwelt upon. I’ll put the Scripture in bold and color to stand out as you read.
1 O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Sugar and salt (or anything else we crave) is like licking dirt in a dry and weary land in comparison to God’s attractiveness. It doesn’t seem like it when I’m eating that flourless chocolate cake, but in reality, I’m actually tasting an example of how good God “tastes.” Wouldn’t it be interesting each time we enjoy some pleasure, if we thought, “This is a small example of the joy of dwelling on God’s goodness”?
2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.
Focusing on God’s qualities, like his goodness, power, and glory, make us appreciate Him. He really is so attractive. As much as we salivate looking at the photo of the dessert in the menu, we can rejoice in thinking about how fabulous a good God we serve.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.
God’s love is certainly what we love the most about God. By speaking of it, we remind ourselves to focus on Him.
4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
I hear a lot of “choice” here. It’s a matter of our wills. We may not always feel like focusing on God’s goodness, but we can choose to. And it’s okay that it’s not always easy. It’s easy to enjoy our favorite salty or sweet thing, but we can cultivate a willingness to appreciate God’s loveliness.
5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
Isn’t that what we’re really desiring when we eat our favorite food or delight in any pleasure? We’re looking for satisfaction. But only God fully satisfies. Too much of our favorite food or activity can make us feel bloated, but there can never be too much of God. Isn’t that fabulous?! You can’t overdose on God!
6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,
I don’t know about you, but I’m so often more tempted to give into cravings when I’m tired at the end of the day. I’m also more tempted to negative thinking like worry in the middle of the night. Satan loves to attack when the dark surrounds me. But we can instead focus on God and His goodness, trusting that He wants only our good.
7 For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
God’s goodness is shown by His help. Maybe you’ve heard the story of the man walking through a forest where a fire recently burnt everything. He spots a dead bird with its wings spread out against the base of a tree. He nudges the carcass aside and out pop several chicks. The mother bird died protecting her young. Jesus died and rose again to help us. And His Spirit is available every moment to empower us to abide in Him. What a good God to provide and help us to live for Him. He doesn’t say, “OK, I saved you; now you’re on your own.” He helps us in every way we need. What a good God.
8 My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
That’s what hungering and thirsting for God looks like: clinging. At times, it means hanging on by your finger tips. It means focusing again and again and again on the Lord–each time your hunger is directed in another direction. It means choosing to concentrate on the Lord’s goodness and thinking you’re doing all the work. But then you look back and see how He “upholds me.” We cling and He upholds.
Right now, that is what our whole family is doing, clinging to the Lord’s goodness and seeing how He is upholding us. My brother, Chuck, is in chemo for blood cancer and may be going through a bone marrow/stem cell transplant soon. In addition, a few days ago, my niece was in agonizing abdominal pain and she is seven months pregnant. She was diagnosed with an infection in her uterus and that could be both dangerous for her and the baby. The Lord graciously answered our prayers “yes” for the antibiotics to clear the infection and for pre-labor to stop. At this point, she and the baby are safe.
Every time wondering and concern (two valid reactions which are godly) turn into worry (which is ungodly–Philippians 4:6), we can cling to God’s goodness, as we hunger and thirst for Him. Even more tasty than chocolate or salty chips, our wonderful God satisfies and gives us plenty for which to praise Him.
There’s a saying I like to use, “Just give me the chocolate and no one will get hurt.” Let’s say instead, “Just give me Jesus, and I’ll be satisfied.” May I pass you some?